Sleep paralysis is a short term inability to move before sleep and while waking up that can be treatable if you know how to wake up from sleep paralysis. These events are short, lasting only a few minutes, but can be very scary! Let’s explore some of the fact, causes and some treatments.
If you are experiencing paralysis and are unable to move in bed while falling asleep or waking up in the morning schedule an appointment with a sleep specialists near your right away! People that suffer from sleep paralysis report being totally aware of their surroundings but unable to wake up, move their limbs and hear strange sounds.
How do I get Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis happens when your body enters REM sleep and your brain turns off muscle groups to protect your body from damage during vivid dreams. Dreams are very intense during the REM phase of sleep and if the body is not “paralyzed” you may find yourself sleep walking or acting out your dreams in other ways!
7 Ways to Wake Up from Sleep Paralysis
Tired of waking up paralyzed on a regular basis – lets explore some of the best ways to beat sleep paralysis. Different tricks work for different people so be sure to try all 7 tricks. If you have a good tip or trick that you want to let the world know about send us a message and we will add it to our list to share with the world.
1. Relax and Wait
When you first feel an episode setting in stay calm, relax your body and mind then prepare to wait it out. Episodes typically only last a few minutes so you will most likely snap out of it all on your own. As long as you stay calm and remember that you are laying down in a comfortable bed everything should be OK.
2. Count to 100
The key to beating paralysis episodes is to keep your mind busy. One of the most popular tricks to wake up (or fall asleep) is to count up to 100. Some people like to count specific objects – like sheep – while math experts will count in multiples of 2, 4 or 5. Once you reach 100 feel free to keep going or start again at 0. Counting can also be a good way to determine how long paralysis episodes are lasting since your sense are disoriented.
3. Wiggle a Finger or Toe
If you are able to regain control over a small part of your body you might be able to break the spell of sleep paralysis. Start with a finger or toe and focus on bending it as much as you can. Find yourself unable to move any extremities – start by trying to rub on a pillow, blanket or bed sheet to build up sensation.
4. Open and Close your Mouth
Regaining control of even the smallest part of your body while in a paralysis spell is tough. If you are unable to wiggle a finger or toe try starting with your mouth. Your tongue, lips and jaw are all good options to try and “feel” for a small move. One of the most effective tricks is to rub your tongue on the inside of your teeth – the ridges between each tooth provide extra sensation.
5. Focus on Deep Breathing
Deep breathing exercises are also effective to regain control of your body. Start slow and focus on taking long, deep breaths that fill your lungs with air. Try to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for the best results. Many people are only able to get one or two breaths in while sleeping but they tend to be super effective.
6. Set an Alarm
Know that you need to be up at the same time every day – then use an alarm clock. Try using a traditional alarm or an app on your phone to set an audible alarm. Most paralysis episodes happen right before we wake up so using an alarm is a sure fire way to wake yourself up – especially if you do not sleep with a partner or dog.
7. Don't be Scared
Episodes of paralysis may be terrifying but if you can identify them while they are happening you can keep calm. Most episodes only last a few minutes and you are laying safely in bed – the best thing you can do if none of our previous tricks has broken your sleep is to stay calm and wait it out. Start to feel yourself getting scared? Try to feel the blanket wrapped around your body and pillow under your head. Some people have had success using a weighted blanket for extra help keeping calm.
Is Sleep Paralysis Deadly?
Many people that experience sleep paralysis worry that it is a deadly condition. The thought of finding themselves dying, hallucinating and unable to move due to sleep paralysis is truly scary! Fortunately, sleep paralysis is not a deadly condition so there is no need to worry about suddenly passing away.
What Happens during Sleep Paralysis
During a sleep paralysis episode the body remains paralyzed after waking up from REM sleep. During paralysis people have reported feeling a crushing weight on their chest and being unable to move while still being full aware of their surroundings.
Nighttime sleep paralysis, also called hypagogic sleep paralysis, can disturb sleep cycles and make going to bed at night a scary experience. Morning sleep paralysis, also called hypnopompic sleep paralysis, can interrupt daily plans and make it difficult to go to work or even leave the house!
Sleep Paralysis Treatments
While sleep paralysis is treatable most psychologist, neurologist and other sleep specialists agree that medication is not the best treatment for sleep paralysis. Instead doctors focus on improving sleep habits, reducing anxiety associated with sleep and treating any coexisting disorders or illnesses.
Some of the most common treatments for sleep paralysis are:
Sleep Paralysis and Lucid Dreaming
Sleep paralysis is more common in individuals that experience lucid dreams. During a lucid dream the dreamer is completely aware that they are asleep and dreaming and sometimes are even able to control what happens! Unfortunately this can cause hallucinations and paralysis due to the split state of your body and mind.
If you feel yourself falling out of a lucid dream into sleep paralysis try these tips:
- Take deep breaths
- Move your extremeties
- Talk to yourself and remind yourself what is happening
- Try to swallow
- Keep your eyes open and moving